SIR - I, too, share your readers concerns about East Devon Council’s proposal to build 19,000 homes in East Devon, including a substantial number on agricultural land around Sidmouth and Ottery - but this is not the full extent of what East Devon Council has in store for East Devon and Sidmouth residents should be aware of other developments in the area which, when combined, are truly horrendous.
In addition to the above, there is the Exeter and East Devon Growth Point. This consists of Cranbrook in East Devon, a new town of 28,500 high-density dwellings, plus two new urban extension villages, Newcourt and Monkerton outside Exeter.
On the industrial front, there will be a new Exeter Airport, Flybe Academy and hotel and, adjacent to this, a Skypark (which has been approved by East Devon District Council). This is a massive industrial estate of 107 acres that will include 1.4 million sq feet of office and industrial/manufacturing space.
As well as this, there will be a Science Park, which is a knowledge based, high tech business estate; this will include an hotel, conference facilities and 40,000 sq feet of offices. In addition, there will be an Intermodal Freight Terminal, which is a rail link which will need substantial storage facilities to transport goods around the south west; this combined huge industrial carbuncle will also require a new, extended road network.
This is a massive construction programme, a gigantic industrial development on ‘employment land’ allocated for the purpose; this is not ‘employment land’, it is agricultural and farm land which will be needed to grow food when other countries reduce selling food to the UK (which they will do), in order to feed their own growing populations as the world’s available resources struggle under an ever-increasing burgeoning population explosion.
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The combined growth points of Exeter, Plymouth and the smaller area in Barnstaple, have projected 90,000 new jobs; but only 30,000 of these can be met by the current residents of Devon. The remaining jobs to be filled by inward migration, which will require more houses, schools, hospitals and so on.
We should learn lessons from the industrial North and Midlands of England, where huge swathes of derelict brown field sites are left when industry dies. Why build here on valuable agricultural land, when there are hundreds of brown field sites that could be developed in other parts of the country; why choose outstandingly beautiful and valuable farmland?
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This is quite ludicrous and, surely, someone can stop it, as it’s a blatant attempt to concrete over our beautiful county which is, and always has been, a tourist and farming area and not an industrial area. Why make East Devon into yet another industrial area, when other parts of the country are crying out for jobs and new industry? Surely, development in an environmentally sensitive area such as Devon, should be better managed?
Local people should be aware that all areas of the UK were asked by the last government if they wanted new, large-scale development and Exeter and Plymouth agreed to this (whilst other cities in England did not want more development). East Devon Council is managing the growth point so they must have put our area of Devon forward for urbanisation.
Were we asked if we wanted our beautiful part of Devon to be concreted over? We should be consulted when ANOBs are being earmarked for industrial estates and high-density housing - are our second-rate councillors mad or bad - why are they doing this, as it does not make sense?